As indie authors, one of the things we all want is for people to read our work. I’m new. I’ve been published for less than a year and as yet only have one book available. There are more on the way. That book took me over six months to get to a first draft and many more months, in fact years to rewrite, edit and rewrite again until I was happy enough with it to say I’d risk publishing it. Publishing was a huge step for me, on top of the herculean effort to write the book in the first place. This was not a full time endeavour. I have a family and another business to run. So, I wrote in my spare time as many indie authors do.
Having no money for professional services, I also had to create a cover for which I really did pay a tiny price online for, namely to purchase a graphics file. Cover art is not even a point of mine let alone a strong one! I would not have been able to produce a cover without using the free graphics for which I made a small donation.
I sought advice from a few people before I set a price for my book. Some said that they didn’t like reading anything that was less than £3 for an ebook because it made them think there might be something wrong with it. Other people said they wouldn’t download an ebook unless it was free or at the most 99p. Others still said they would only read books by best sellers and very well-known authors.
Everyone loves a bargain, including me. But my book took me many months, years to write. I put real effort into it for a sustained period of time. What I began to wonder is whether anyone realised that an indie author’s royalty payments are a percentage of the sale price. If the book is offered for free we get nothing and if it’s offered for 99p, well, we get pence for each one. 99p is superb all round if you’re selling thousands of books every month. I know there will be a percentage of indie authors who fall into that category. I know many do not.
I have read comments over the months from authors who have said they offered a book for free. The book was then downloaded many times, making the author no money. However the hope was that maybe people would read it and then buy another book by the same author. It appeared that after the free books were downloaded, no further books were purchased. Readers really did want something for nothing. But it’s not nothing-books are months and months of work to produce.
I do not think for one minute that anyone in this business is expecting to be an overnight success. It would be fantastic if that happened to someone, but I suspect it would also be very rare.
I have worked all my life. There were three months as a teenager when I didn’t have a job. For each job I have had, I have been paid various amounts. I take my writing seriously enough to consider it a job in the same way my other business is a job. I’m afraid for me personally I see no reason to do a job for free. I wouldn’t have done any of the other jobs for free. My book is not a huge amount of money to buy. Whereas I am not averse to running discounts from time to time, and I’m more than happy to donate a short story to an anthology for free, I think I’m quite allergic to offering a full novel for a few pence as a regular price.
Author of “Modified: Lunar Medical: Book 1“